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Anime / THE iDOLM@STER: SideM

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The iDOLM@STER: SideM is the sixth adaptation of The Idolmaster video games. Like its predecesor Cinderella Girls, this series adapts one of the mobile game spinoffs — in this case, the all-male training game SideM. Taking place in the same universe as the main series and Cinderella Girls, the story follows new hires Teru Tendou, Tsubasa Kashiwagi, and Kaoru Sakuraba as they start their idol careers at the fledgling 315 Production under a boisterous executive and a hard-working and enthusiastic producer.

SideM is animated by A-1 Pictures like its predecessor series. The anime aired on October 7, 2017 as part of the Fall 2017 lineup.

A prologue special titled Episode of Jupiter premiered on September 30, 2017 a week ahead of the show's official start. It stars Touma, Hokuto, and Shouta during their time after leaving 961 Production.

The final volume of the DVD sets included a Vignette Episode OAD titled "315 Variety Pack! Made in Passion!", consisting of six short segments.

The iDOLM@STER: SideM provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects:
    • Though multiple performances do use CG to some degree (mostly for the stage or the crowds), the Starlight Celebrate performance in Episode 3 uses visible CG on the idols themselves for far-away or back shots.
    • In Episode 6, soccer balls get rendered in CG for action shots.
  • Art Evolution: Episode of Jupiter shows a subtle version of this on an anime-wide scale. This video compares the same sequence seen in THE iDOLM@STER MOVIE, and the evolution shows.
  • Beach Episode: Episode 8 is one.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • Dramatic Stars visits a "Penny's" restaurant in Episode 3.
    • Haruna is eating or otherwise carries Creamy Cream Donuts often; the color scheme is similar to Krispy Kreme's with the only difference being the logo and stripes instead of dots on the box.
    • The vending machines in Episode 6 carry a lot of standard soft drinks, such as Coca-Cider and Dr. Paper.
    • In Episode 7, Hayato is drinking from a juice box that specifically says it's "Orange Juice" but otherwise looks like a Minute Maid container.
  • Blue with Shock: Big Eater Tsubasa's reaction upon hearing the Producer say he can only drink water during Episode 6, as Tsubasa just suggested the Producer have a good meal before then.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Jupiter learns the hard way that Saitou never gives up on his targets.
  • Call-Back: The stage that Saitou snuck into while Jupiter's crew were setting up was revealed to be used for the concert they held at Rui, Jirou, and Michio's old school.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Saitou holds up a sign among the crowd that came to watch Jupiter record a show, with the text for the band itself looking a lot like the logo they would later use at 315.
    • Judging by the uniform, Saitou tries recruiting Touma in the same brand of convenience store Kyoji worked at.
    • Yuusuke and Kyousuke are shown on a sports magazine Touma reads in episode 1.
  • Continuity Cameo:
    • All of the idol groups that aren't focused on get voiced cameos throughout the series:
      • Michiru is shown to be working at the ramen restaurant the boys go to in episode 1.
      • FRAME makes an appearance in their former professions, acting as rescue squads or traffic guards during the typhoon.
      • Shirou and Nao are still hosting their old children's show in Episode 3, with Kanon appearing as a special guest. Ryo also bumps into Tsubasa while he's still working as a member of Dearly Stars.
      • Suzaku (with Nyako) and Genbu show up in Episode 4 on the sidewalk, while Minori is driving. The boys of Sai also make appearances during the festival.
      • Takeru and Ren are arguing during their own run in Episode 5 right before Jiro and Rui meet up with Michio to begin their first training session.
      • In episode 7, Kei is in a documentary Shiki is watching, Rei is walking down the street while Haruna works at one of his part-time jobs and the boys of HighxJoker run past Sora working at his store as they're late for class.
      • Chris makes an appearance in episode 8 on the beach.
      • In Episode 9, Daigo shows up conversing with the elderly.
      • In Episode 11, Cafe Parade appears at a Penny's Restaurant. Amehiko appears at the onsen Dramatic Stars goes to and informs them that he's "cleaned" the area.
    • That's not stopping other series' idols from making a guest appearance:
      • Haruka makes a brief appearance in Episode of Jupiter. The piano rendition of "READY!!" from her series even played during her conversation with the boys.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: And unlike the other two series, everyone important to the plot is of the same gender. Idol and Producer alike are fair faced hotties.
  • Cathartic Scream: Shouta does this during Episode of Jupiter when he and the others are mulling over what to do about their small arena space.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The ever-present music journalist Yoshizawa has a talk session with Jupiter. He also seems to be a drinking buddy of Saitou.
    • The celebrity lounge/bar makes a reappearance in episode 0.
    • Posters of 765PRO ALLSTARS in their movie outfits can be seen all over town during Episode of Jupiter. The boys even attend the concert seen in that film.
    • The choreographer and singing teacher that taught 765's idols are now teaching for 315.
    • The training facility first seen in THE iDOLM@STER MOVIE has 2 shikishi cards with 765PRO ALLSTARS' and CINDERELLA PROJECT's autographs on them. The boys of 315 get to put theirs up at the end of the episode.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: 315 is a whole different beast from the other series companies:
    • Unlike 765, which was an established but struggling in its early days, and 346, which is a well known media conglomerate, 315 is a relatively new company that hadn't even started operations yet by the time they recruit their first two groups.
    • This also applies to the idols themselves. As 765's idols have been working with each other for a while, and the same goes with 346's idols despite the constant influx of new and upcoming idols, 315's idols have literally just met, even within their established groups in some cases.
    • Even the main groups apply to this. Whereas 765, 346, 876, and 961 primarily focused on the characters who were in their teens as their main trionote , 315's main trio is a pack of full grown adults.
    • 765 and 315's most popular idol groups were formed out of different circumstances; while Ryuuguu Komachi was made in-house and then propelled to stardom, Jupiter came pre-packaged with fame and was "adopted" into the studio so to speak.
    • Hell, even their signatures show how different the groups are. We see in episode 8 that an office room holds 765, 346, and 315's autograph sheets with their idols' signatures on them. 765 did theirs in their motif colors, showing them to be individualistic; 346 did theirs in their "type" colors, showing their professional aura; 315 writes in all black. The last one isn't because they're more professional— it's because boys don't usually play with colors like that.note 
    • The "Main Character" of 765 tends to lean towards Haruka though they focus on Chihaya and Miki in their own arcs. 346 splits this among the New Generations girls, Uzuki, Rin and Mio. 315 splits this up between Jupiter and Dramatic Stars.
  • Exact Words: When Saitou angers Touma one too many times after turning down his offer to join 315, Touma tells him to "do what you want". Saitou is all too happy to take him up on his offer.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: While the usually-cheerful Yusuke is telling his twin brother Kyousuke that his knee injury was worse than expected and would make it unlikely for him to continue playing pro soccer, it's raining outside the hospital room.
  • Hero of Another Story:
    • When the Jupiter boys run into Haruka, they notice she's looking a little troubled. Anyone who's seen Beyond the Brilliant Future! knows exactly what's weighing her down.
    • Jupiter themselves count as Heroes of Another Story, as they're continuing their idol activities and have their own business to work through while the rest of 315 is going through their early obstacles.
  • Hostile Weather: Like any good iM@S adaptation, this series had its storm, albeit in episode 2. Here, a Jupiter concert was delayed because of a typhoon. 315's idols have to act in the place of Jupiter's missing crew members.
  • Idiots Cannot Catch Colds: After Jiro comments that Michio will catch a cold running in the rain, and Michio and Rui say they won't get sick doing so themselves, Jiro responds with this... then proceeds to be the only one who caught a cold.
  • Japanese Delinquents: The boys star in a delinquent movie called PASSION OF THE PASSION in the OAD episode.
  • Mood Whiplash: The start of Episode 6 begins pretty darkly with the Producer getting sent to the hospital and being ushered into an operating room. After the opening plays, the scene afterward is comedic.
  • Mr. Exposition: At the beginning of Episode 2, the Producer cheerfully explains the motivations of the rest of the new 315 idols to Ken and how he found them.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • As a general rule, most performances in the series will borrow choreography from one of the live performances.
      • Jupiter's choreography for "BRAND NEW FIELD", including their ending pose, was based on their voice actors' performance of the song at the first STARTING ST@GE concert.
      • DRAMATIC STARS' performance of "Starlight Celebrate!" was lifted right from their 1st Stage performance, with some minor tweaks.
      • S.E.M performed "Study Equal Magic!" the way that their seiyuu did in the 2ND ST@GE.
    • The setup of the venue shown in the first episode is taken from the first live Stage for this branch of the franchise.
    • The Producer's design is based on the producer that appears in the original game's Magazine comics.
    • Jirou, Michio, and Rui are scouted out by the Producer during an audition session where they're 17th in line, just as they were in the Magazine about their formation.
    • Dramatic Stars' debut poster uses the artwork from their ST@RTING LINE debut CD.
    • Shinsoku Ikkon and Sai's cameos during the Festival reference the game's own "Elegant Dance Festival" event, where the five of them were asked to provide music for a festival's dance.
    • The ouendan outfits S.E.M starts out with before their big performance references their cheer outfits from the 2015 "Osu! Idol Ouendan" event in the game.
    • The first Job Change event is referenced in Episode 10, despite Kurou not making an appearance on the show yetnote .
    • The SideMini chibi sprites make an appearance in episode 10.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: Episode of Jupiter happens during the main series movie. There's even a shot-for-shot remake of the Jupiter boys' and Haruka's conversation before 765 has their big concert.
  • Questionable Consent: Right in the first episode, we learn that Teru signed onto to 315Pro because he made his own contract while drunk. They still considered it as real as anything else, but it was enough to make Teru ask them of its validity in person, and the Producer does at least have the common sense to offer it voided if Teru really doesn't want to be an idol.
  • Running Gag: Shiki misspelling English words on the board, while Jun corrects him.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Every company that tried to rake in Jupiter promised them fame, venues, and larger salaries than what they were getting at present. The reason why they end up choosing 315 is because it was the only company to not use the tactic, and because Saitou seemed genuinely interested in letting Jupiter reach out to their fans.
  • Series Continuity Error: When Saki appears in Episode 11, it's in his wig and usual cute clothes. Saki didn't start openly doing that until after Ryo revealed himself as a male idol, which he still hasn't done yet going by his cameo in this series.
  • Spinoff Sendoff: A twofer in Episode of Jupiter; at first, Haruka's appearance towards the middle solidifies their stance of moving forward, fully breaking off ties with 961 and the main branch anime. Then, towards the end, we have Jupiter meet Dramatic Stars for the first time, introducing us to the new generation of idols in 315.
  • Time-Passes Montage: The rest of the initial 315 recruits are shown getting their notice of confirmation during a montage near the end of Episode 1, before they're all gathered up for the first time.
  • Unreveal Angle: True to their game counterparts, the camera always finds clever ways to hide the top half of Saitou and the Producer's faces. This only lasts until Episode 1 for the latter, but Saitou keeps the trait throughout.
  • Years Too Early: A particularly condescending one during the flashback to the first anime's IDOL JAM, where Kuroi tells the Jupiter boys that they're "100 years too early" to be mouthing off at him since he's the one who put them on top.